The Reproduction of the Eel

Abstract

THE time of spawning and the differences between the sexes of the common eel has been hitherto unknown. Last year for the first time in this country eels (Anguilla bostoniensis) containing eggs were found, December 31, by Mr. Edwards, at New Bedford, Mass., as stated by Mr. Putnam in the Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History. From observations on eels brought me at Providence, R.I. it appears that eels spawn here in salt or brackish water from October to the end of November, as I have found several eels containing eggs which seemed nearly ripe, the ovary being full and large. To-day on examining the testis of a male eel 17 inches long, the mother-cells and sperm-cells were found, the latter numerous and lively, from 1/3000 to 1/20000 inch in diameter. The eggs were white, just large enough to be distinguished by the naked eye, measuring a little less than 1/2 mm. in diameter. The females are larger than the males, with the belly white, while the males are easily distinguishable by the dark bellies and a narrow silvery or golden median stripe.

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